Many people ask me all the time how cancellation and refund works with humanitarian flights. I have dedicated this to all of my adopted family members and have questions about cancellations and refunds with humanitarian flights, so I hope I help answer them here. Some of the benefits of using humanitarian plane tickets include the fact that these flights are refundable, minus flight fines and fees, if you need to cancel the flight before the departure date. Most of the flights on the Internet are non-refundable, but humanitarian flights are not in this category.
Missionary and humanitarian flights, unlike most flights, are refundable, minus airline fines and fees if you need to cancel and request a refund. This is not a total refund of 100% of your flight cost, but it does help immensely, as most other flights are non-refundable. There are many other benefits to using humanitarian travel tickets as well. Humanitarian flights are subject to change and the first change after departure does not usually constitute a penalty for the airline, and therefore the change fee is much lower than the normal flight change that you will find. Also, since human flights are only accessible through a missionary and adoptive travel agent, you can also expect a much better service than using an online travel engine to purchase your flights.
The cancellation process for humanitarian and mission trips can take about six weeks before you see the refund applied to your credit card. However, many people notice that their refunds appear closer to two or three weeks after processing the cancellation with the airline. There will always be multiple fees and balances with any such refund, and you will often need to add costs and credits that should all equal the amount you specified for your refund.
Sometimes, the adoptive family will need to cancel only the return portion of their flight for various reasons, and re-book with another airline at a later time. This is the situation in which the family is extremely grateful for having humanitarian flights in exchange for published flights. Humanitarian flights are refundable, even for the return portion only. This is always just a partial refund, and a decrease in airline fees and fees, but it still helps immensely in maintaining some of the losses that may be incurred in another way.
In general, families that use humanitarian flights, especially for adoption travel, are very happy with them if they need to make changes to their return date. Sometimes there are unpredictable circumstances that compel families to cancel their adoptive trips, and when these things happen, they are always very thankful for using humanitarian flights instead of anything they can book on their own.
Hope this helps answer some of your questions!
Tabitha Lovell, Director of International Travel